This is the second half of my weekend story. If you’re not aware, I previously wrote on a cannabis road trip with my wife. The following is what I did after two days of buying marijuana in two states and sightseeing.
On February 5th I attended Lance Gloor’s appeal for an evidentiary hearing. I guess there are two things I need to explain here before I go on. Who is Lance Gloor? And what’s an evidentiary hearing?
Lance Gloor was convicted on April 15th, 2016 for crimes related to cannabis, for an offence that would consider him a savvy businessman today in present-day Washington State. All the evidence collected against Lance was collected when medical marijuana was the law of the land in Washington State. At that time one needed a medical prescription to have access to the different shops and markets across the State of Washington. It was these people, these stores and grows who were your medical care providers. With each visit, they were your present care provider, and when you left, you were no longer part of that collective.
Lance never denied owning the shops or gardens that he was accused of because at the time they weren’t a crime in the State of Washington. Lance is a victim of local law enforcement’s inability to prosecute a man for personal grievances. The investigation and evidence against Lance include a WESTNET agent trying to gain access to one of the dispensaries and turned down because they had no medical authorisation. The agent then goes to a holistic practitioner, complains about a back problem, gets a medical authorisation, and then gained access to one of the shops owned by Lance. Items purchased at the stores were handed over to the DEA as compulsory evidence meaning once the State asked for assistance from the Fed, the Feds were obligated to pursue prosecution because marijuana is still Federally illegal. Now here’s where shit gets muddy and crazy.
At the time of Lance’s arrest and prosecution, the Rohrbacher-Farr Amendment was signed into law. The Amendment prohibits federal funds from being used to prosecute citizens where medical marijuana exists in their state. In other words, if you’re following the rules in your state you should be left the hell alone. Lance was following the rules; in fact, he was doing what hundreds, if not thousands were doing in Washington State but yet he and the Kettle Falls Five were arrested and had their lives disrupted not because of the plant but because of a law.
Even during the time of Lance’s trial recreational marijuana had already taken effect in the state of Washington. I attended Lance’s federal trial and was disgusted by the fact that I watched 100% only cannabis being used to prosecute him while I was able to buy some prerolls down the street from the Federal Courthouse each day.
So there you have it, folks, Lance is a prisoner not because he was cartel member but because he was successful at what he was doing while being a law-abiding State citizen.
So what’s an evidentiary hearing? Its part of the due process that we’re all entitled to but Lance was denied. Wikipedia defines an evidentiary hearing as “after a criminal complaint has been filed by the prosecutor, to determine whether there is enough evidence to require a trial.” It is here that Lance would present his case that he was following the Washington State rules and it is here that a judge with common sense would throw the case out based on the evidence collected.
The more and more I learn about our judicial process, the more scared and fearful I am for the America I believe in. I want to believe that America is the place for truth, justice, and common sense but if Lance doesn’t get his rightful day in court, this will take Lady Liberty another notch down.
Some questions and statements occurred during the appeals hearing, its moments like these one wants to stand up and yell “Here’s why!” or “You’re just flat out wrong!” and instead of getting kicked out of court I will pose those questions along with my replies here;
A question posed by the honourable Judge Michael Jerome McShane in regards to whether Lance was law-abiding as a caregiver or not “but doesn’t the record nullify that argument? We already have a trial record that seems to show your client is neither a collective garden or designated provider. Isn’t that clear from the record that already has been created and how will the hearing change that?” Here I want to jump and down and yell “Are you fucking kidding me!?” and here’s why. If Lance were given a chance to show that he was a law-abiding state citizen, there would have been no record of trial, so how can that be used against him? Secondly, the United States argument reinforces the argument that no matter what state law-abiding evident Lance produced that it would not be taken into consideration for his defence.
My next moments of frustration and what I touched upon briefly above was when Michael Morgan for the United States made the following statements. “Assuming that compliance with the Washington’s affirmative defence would satisfy McIntosh ,which an assumption the government disputes, but taking that assumption for right now, the record provided in the trial proves conclusively that the defendant did not qualify for the affirmative defense with respect to the grow operation because he refused to provide documentation when requested by law enforcement that is a statutory prerequisite for the affirmative defence.” My issue here is, I didn’t know there was a prerequisite for due process of law. Isn’t this what separates us from the animals, from the other countries we claim to be better than, its that each citizen, each American gets a fair shake, a fair trial, all of which incorporates the whole process including an evidentiary hearing.
The statement that I find frustrating and just wanted to stand up and yell “Are you fucking kidding me!’ was when Michael Morgan stated “Mr.Gloor was free to present and did present any evidence he wanted in respect to how his business operated.” but then follows with “He was free to present whatever evidence in regard to his operation he wanted. He just wasn’t allowed to make the legal argument. So, he had his chance to try and prove he was in compliance.” You read that right, he could present whatever he wanted to, but it wouldn’t be held to his defence, so why fucking submit it?
I believe Lance’s lawyer made a solid argument about the due process which when reasonably consider would have ruled in his favour thus there never would have been a record of prosecution.
If you have the time, watch the hearing for yourself, the whole thing is only 17 minutes and 41 seconds. Each side was given 10 minutes to be heard. 10 minutes after serving two years behind bars for a chance to argue for freedom. 10 minutes and he wasn’t even able to be present, but there was a courtroom full of supporters. When Lance’s case adjourned, so did half the room. Lance was given 10 minutes for a second chance, and I think he deserves it for it should not be easier to put a person behind bars over a bad law than it is to release them.
Story Correction/Update: Full disclaimer, I am not a reporter or lawyer, I’m just someone that believes that we have an unjust law that has been created by our justice system. Lance’s lawyer read my article and had the following corrections but overall my argument was solid, just some dates and legal lingo that I did not land correctly.
Lance’s attorney: My only comment to correct the factual record is that Lance was arrested in 2013. The congressional appropriations rider was signed into law in 2014. The author states the rider was in effect when Lance was arrested. It was not. However, it is true that arguably before Lance went to trial in 2015, the Department of Justice should have been prohibited from spending funds on the trial until Lance received an evidentiary hearing to determine whether he could present a successful affirmative defense under Washington law.